Stories by Rotimi Ojomoyela
The APC has described the banning of Dr Fayemi and his Commissioner for Finance for ten years as a joke taken too far and Governor Fayose as a jester?
What would a rascal say? Rascals would respond like that. They are rascals who do not recognised God and men and the condemnation of evil and satanic in them is nothing short of joke. There is nothing strange about their utterances, they are children of perdition.
They also described the latest of effort Governor Fayose as an attempt to ambush Fayemi and deny him the opportunity of serving the state. What is your reaction to this?
Where is his popularity, a man that is horrifyingly hated by Ekiti people, a man whose personality has become repugnant to the generality of Ekiti people, is it the same person they are saying is popular. A man who left huge indebtedness that Ekiti is still battling now. Is he the one they are saying is popular? The rascals can say anything; people who suffer from delusion can say anything.
Some leaders in your party, including Governor Ayodele Fayose have endorsed his Deputy, Prof Kolapo Olusola, as the sole candidate of your party for the 2018 Governorship election, ýwhile another five aspirants in the party have kicked against such move. How do you reconcile this?
There is nothing irreconcilable about it, first you said endorsed candidate, is it endorsed by the party or some stakeholders, if anybody is endorsed by critical stakeholders that does not stop any primary. It is only indicative of a particular strategy of an aspirant. ýIf it overwhelm others it is unfortunate, but you too can look for those who would endorsed you.
Anyway some set of people must endorsed any aspirant, for even when you get your forms, you have to get your form signed by people across the state, so there is no time all of them would not be endorsed by some people but the endorsement prior to taking of forms or at the point of taking of forms or after taking of forms does it preclude primaries, I would say no as a chairman.
The primary is a constitutional provision and except of course, if all members of the party agreed to a candidacy of one person. The primary may just go like that without any too much controversy but when all members of the party has endorsed the candidacy of a person, no matter of how negligible the fraction is, there is bound to be primary and it can be contentious by the virtue of history we have had in Nigerian politics.
How do you ensure free and fairness in party primaries when the Leader of the party, who is the Governor, has already endorsed a candidate?
Let me correct you, the Governor is not the leader of the of the party but one of the Leaders of the party, the chairman is the head of the party but we have leaders within the party and obviously by virtue of his position the governor is one of the critical leaders of the party, if you want me to mention more people, I would say the council of elders are part of the leaders of the party. I’m only saying that even if the governor endorses a particular candidate, even if council of elders too endorses a particular candidate, it does not mean that we don’t have other leaders.
Endorsement is not a sin, it becomes criminal and unconstitutional if added to it is a provision that the party must not perform it’s duties of organising a primary.
Then as to fairness, the governor of the state is not to organise the primaries, those critical stakeholders are not to organise the primaries, the primaries shall be organised by one, the state working committee and supervised by a national working committee, so I don’t know where they think there would not be fairness, are they saying those coming from Abuja to supervise the election would not be fair, or what is their reasonable ground for fear. Has the chairman of ýthe party express that he has a preferred candidate? Up till now I told them and even on the day those stakeholders endorse Eleka, I told them then and there that I as a party chairman I’m not part of that arrangement, no matter how beautiful it may be, as far as I’m concern as party chairman I’m above involvement in the endorsement of any candidate.
I would organise a free and fair election. I’m not a thief, none of them could bribe me, that is their problem and I want to tell you.
How many governorship aspirants do you have in the PDP?
As far as I’m concerned, constitutionally I don’t have any for now, because, nobody has taken any form, nobody has written to show any intention. So, in the eye of the party, there is no aspirant for now. There are only rumourý. There are rumour that the person , the most public spread rumour that Eleka is coming out and that is because a large number of people are coming out in a way to say they endorsed him. The others too, should get other people to endorse them, because critical stakeholder could even be a matter of definition. You bring your people together to endorse you too.
I want to tell you that all of them before now, have always been lobbying the Governor, Ayodele Fayose to support them. You don’t approbate and reprobate. ýThey all wanted Fayose to support them because of his electoral value, because of his immense historical successes in election. All of them that rumour has that they may contest for the gubernatorial and specifically as I’m concerned, I would not say that I don’t know, the rumour has the following names that I can say that I know now, Senator Biodun Olujimi, Dayo Adeyeye, Bisi Omoyeni, Dare Bejide. Even at a time the Governor said those who wanted to contest should come and show their face, so I think is beyond rumour now at the government level but at the party level, it is still a rumour. Because a man who has not written a letter of intention to contest, a man who has not bought forms, prima facie may still be dreaming.
People say the endorsement of Olusola by governor Fayose in concert with some critical stakeholders in the party is anything but democratic, how would you react to this?
I don’t understand what you mean, the expression of an opinion is a demonstration of freedom of expression, freedom to express yourself, no matter how harsh, in so much as it is not unconstitutional and does not deprive anybody of their opinion, it is not undemocratic, it is not unconstitutional, if it had been unconstitutional the party would have penalised them.
What is the level of the preparedness of your party for the governorship election which is expected to hold six months from nowý?
The PDP as party keeps on campaigning that we are interested in continuity. We have told our members that they should be above intimidation and pettiness. I want to give you the example of Ayodele Fayose, when he left the PDP and wanted to return they said no, he has been totally expelled, he kept on fighting, and he did not look for one God father to do the battle on his behalf. At the time they were saying it is a southern agenda, he said let every southern aspirant line up behind and let them jointly face him, that is the spirit and that should be the spirit. You don’t get intimidated, when you believe in God and start moving around, selling yourself to the people
ýAre you jittery that APC might want to truncate your continuity plan in Ekiti?
Is a man who is visibly popular be jittery, the only aspect that could give us concern is the antecedent of APC, their antecedent could make a reasonable man to be bothered and worried. Their recklessness and various acts of impunity while in office was a sad one, but we pray that their madness will be cured before election.